Tabata Workout Beginner's Guide: Burn Fat and Save Time
Beginner's Guide: Tabata Workout
What if we told you that you could get a solid workout in just 20 seconds? Well, there's a little more to it than that in a Tabata workout, but that's how long each block of work in this HIIT (high-intensity interval training) style of workout lasts. (And, for a super quick hit, you can complete a 4-minute round!) Though it may sound simple, you're going to get a lot of bang for your buck with this workout style. Allow us to introduce you to the Tabata workout.
What Is a Tabata Workout?
The method was developed by a Japanese professor, Dr. Izumi Tabata. It involves four-minute rounds in which you complete as many reps as possible in 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each exercise. Each four-minute block of work consists of eight rounds. The high intensity of this workout is meant to help increase your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen you use during exercise). 
How Long Should a Tabata Workout Be?
Tabata training can range from one four-minute round to a 20-minute Tabata workout. Each four-minute block of work consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Immediately repeat this pattern until the round is over.
If you're doing more than one round, rest for a minute between each round. Since each work period is quick, recover as much as you can during rest periods. For the best burn, you'll need to give an all-out effort each time.
Is Tabata Better Than HIIT?
A HIIT workout involves a set of high-intensity intervals—hence the name—followed by rest breaks. A HIIT workout can range from a 7-minute circuit to a 60-minute workout including the warmup and cooldown. HIIT workouts can include strength training, stationary bike interval training, sit-ups, and push-ups.
Tabata is a type of HIIT workout consisting of four-minute rounds. Both types of workouts are completed with strength exercises. However, Tabata training consists of bodyweight exercises and requires no additional equipment, making it a great choice if you have limited space or access to equipment, but still want to get in an effective, quick workout.
Is Tabata Better Than Cardio?
Doing a Tabata workout is much different than traditional cardio. Tabata is a workout designed to build anaerobic endurance, while cardio builds aerobic fitness. Neither workout is better for you, but rather what you choose to do depends on your long-term fitness goals.
Try This Tabata Workout
You can get in a full-body Tabata workout anywhere you are. Depending on your fitness level, you can adjust the intensity for an easier or more advanced Tabata workout. Choose exercises from the below list of Tabata exercises to round out your training. Either do a 4-minute Tabata workout as a finisher to your regularly planned workout or take a day off from going to the gym and complete a 20-minute workout at home. The choice is yours! You can choose as many of the exercises as you want to include; these are just suggestions of moves that will get your heart rate up.
Complete as many reps as possible with maximum effort in each 20-second round, followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes. After your first four-minute round, rest for one minute, then complete another four-minute round.
How to do it: In a high plank position, keep abs engaged and body in a straight line. Hold for the 20-second duration.
How to do it: To complete a jumping jack, start standing with feet together, toes turned slightly out, and arms at your sides. Bend knees slightly, and jump in the air. As you jump up, raise your arms to bring your right and left hand over your head. Land with feet apart and arms up. Jump back and lower arms simultaneously to return to starting position.
How to do it: Start in a high-plank position with the feet hip-width apart. Brace your core and slowly lower your body toward the floor, ensuring your shoulder blades retract. Pause, then press up to return to the starting position.
How to do it: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Push hips back and bend knees into a squat position, then push through your heels to jump straight up in the air. Land softly, keeping knees bent slightly, and repeat.
How to do it: Start in a plank position with feet hip-width apart. Keeping core engaged, lift left foot off the ground to drive left knee toward chest, then return to starting position. Immediately repeat, bringing the right knee toward your chest. That’s one rep. Continue to alternate.
How to do it: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Quickly drive each knee up to hip height, alternating one leg at a time. Continue to repeat.
How to do it: Squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet back into a high plank position. With core engagement, complete one push-up. Then, Jump feet toward hands. Jump up, reaching your arms overhead. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Final Thoughts: Tabata Workouts
Tabata workouts are a great way to improve your anaerobic capacity. In just 4- to 20-minutes, you can get in a solid workout. For optimum benefits, make sure you're giving maximum effort to each exercise.
If you want to uplevel your training, you can add weights, but it’s not necessary. Before you add any weights, make sure you can complete each move with proper form to avoid injury.
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